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Lichfield MP criticises plan to close minor injuries unit at Samuel Johnson Community Hospital

Lichfield’s MP has questioned claims that closing the city’s minor injuries unit will save the NHS money.

Plans have been unveiled to axe the facility at the Samuel Johnson Community Hospital as part of a wider cost-cutting exercise.

But Michael Fabricant MP says wielding the axe in Lichfield will only push costs – and the pressure of patient numbers – to other elements of the health service.

“The closure of the minor injuries unit at the Samuel Johnson without it being replaced by a similar facility elsewhere in Lichfield is wholly unacceptable,” he said. “It will transfer demand to already busy A&E departments in Burton on Trent and Sutton Coldfield or, more likely, overstretched local GP surgeries, and would be a poor management decision by health executives.

“If you have a minor injury, you may need a tetanus injection, a local anaesthetic, a couple of stitches, and bandaging. All this can be applied swiftly by a qualified nurse in a minor injuries unit without the delays of seeking help elsewhere.

“Personally, I doubt whether any comparable replacement service can be delivered at a cost saving – indeed, it is likely to be more expensive unless it is being done on the cheap with inadequate provision.”

The minor injuries unit saw overnight closures implemented earlier this year.

Mr Fabricant said health bosses needed to provide more details about how any closure would be managed.

“If the local NHS are proposing an alternative to the minor injuries units currently in the Samuel Johnson Hospital in Lichfield, their current vague promises of community based delivery is inadequate,” he said.

“We need to know now the details of the precise locations of the replacement services, the hours they will be open, and the phone numbers where they can be contacted. If the service is to be home based, how quickly will nurses arrive on the scene once they are contacted? This all needs to be open and transparent. If someone suffers a minor injury, they need to know where to go and fast.

“A minor injuries unit at a small hospital is an efficient solution when taken across the NHS as a whole. Indeed, I would like to see at least one of the GP practices currently based in Lichfield near the Samuel Johnson Hospital move across to that hospital to make full use of its facilities. Then doctors could be available in more urgent cases. This happens elsewhere in the country.

“Far from considering removing the minor injuries unit from the Samuel Johnson, local NHS officials should be considering cost-effective ways of expanding the service.”

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2 Comments

  1. Sue woodward

    23rd December, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Isn’t this the man who said there would be no service changes at SJH? Now he’s backtracking ever so slightly so no change there. We should remember that the Government he supports has driven the dogma of austerity, for the NHS and other public services, yet we’re still the 5th (or 6th) richest nation in the world. Never a mention either of areas outside the City, like Burntwood where primary care services are at breaking point.

  2. Agitatorofpeople

    5th January, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I can’t see anything in black and white that Fabricant states “There would be no service changes at SJH” in previous articles.
    However the strongest language he has used about SJH is and I quote:

    ““I have written to Dr John James and officials at the local Clinical Commissioning Group based in Tamworth telling them that a major reduction in the hours or closure of the minor injuries unit would be totally unacceptable,” with the warning that “Depending on the response to my letter, I may have to escalate this matter to Government Ministers at the Department of Health,”

    Since then a consultation has taken place, which is enough of an excuse for Fabricant not to escalate the matter, the problem with most consultations is that as with this case, it was carried out by the people who want to close the service, the local CCG, hardly an independent body with no vested interest in the outcome.

    Fabricant will then fall back and toe the party line, after a small amount of blustering and a photo opportunity, because he does not want to put his Tory buddy Staffordshire Councils Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing Alan (slasher) White into an embarrassing position.

    So Lichfield and Burntwood lose more health provision and services thanks to a Conservative majority council and an ineffective Conservative MP who wont stand up for his constituency.

    Local council elections this year people, make a difference locally and vote these councillors out of their self serving positions.